IndustryVoice: RevEnergy’s Advanced System Reduces H2S In Sour Crude

Jun 18, 2018

RevEnergy was featured on Midstream Business’ IndustryVoice last month. Read an excerpt below or click here to read the full article.

Anyone familiar with “sour” crude knows that hydrogen sulfide, or H2S, is the culprit. High concentrations of this highly toxic gas can occur naturally in many petroleum reservoirs. Other fields seem to turn sour when water is injected to enhance the recovery of oil or natural gas. Hydrogen sulfide not only diminishes the value of crude, but if not handled properly, it also presents a serious danger to workers exposed to it.

Even minimal exposure to H2S can cause nausea, fatigue, headaches, burning eyes, coughing, and shortness of breath, while extended exposure can lead to asphyxiation and respiratory failure. Heavier than air, hydrogen sulfide can accumulate in low lying unventilated areas, and while the noxious gas can sometimes be recognized by a smell similar to rotten eggs, often even lethal concentrations of H2S can be difficult to detect until it is too late.

Beyond the serious health risks, H2S is also corrosive to storage tanks, pipelines and rail cars, and the toxic vapors it creates when stored can also be highly flammable. Therefore, stabilizing, or sweetening, sour crude becomes a critical function for drilling operators, midstream companies, and refineries operating in areas where sour crude is prevalent. Sweetening sour crude typically involves a chemical treatment process that strips H2S from the crude to a concentration level that can be safely stored and transported. The industry standard is considered to be 10 ppmw (Parts Per Million by Weight) limit, but some industry players will turn away any crude oil that has H2S levels higher than 5 ppmw.

Most conventional H2S mitigation methods are less than ideal. Removal agents, or scavengers, are typically chemical solutions that essentially consume hydrogen sulfide molecules. These scavengers, though, often leave additives that contaminate the crude. Other methods can cause a loss in crude oil volumes. Despite their shortcomings, however, until now these treatment methods have been the norm.

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